Tips to Choosing an Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift

Shopping with the planet in mind

There are a variety of environmentally friendly Christmas gifts available for you. You can share the eco-friendly message with your loved ones simply by putting a little extra thought into the gifts you are choosing for them. Besides making sure to reuse and recycle when you are wrapping and putting gift bows on your gifts, there are a number of things you should think about when you are buying a gift.

  1. Don't buy Christmas gifts that are over packaged. Toys are especially bad for this, with cardboard boxes covered by plastic sheets, sealed with tape and fastened with plastic ties. Buy products that have the packaging fit to them, or even better aren't packaged at all.

  2. Consider the power requirements for your gift. Batteries that can't be recharged are a dangerous addition to landfills because of the chemicals contained in them. A Christmas gift that doesn't use power or can be recharged is best.

  1. Find out what kind of waste the gift makes itself . Does it require any additional supplies? Will using the gift make waste? For example, rather than giving your kids a craft set that will end up wasting paper and other supplies that get thrown out, buy them an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lego set.

  2. Consider the life span of the product. If you are giving something that won't last you are creating waste.

  3. Purchase Christmas gifts out of naturally made products. A wood toy train will do less damage to the environment when it gets thrown out than a plastic toy. Hemp products are also increasing in popularity.

  4. Do your research. If your gift isn't made from natural product research the environmental impact of the material it is made from. Is it made from renewable resources? Is it biodegradable? Is it recyclable? What kind of processes go into making it? What kind of effects will it have once it reaches a landfill?

  5. Find out where the product comes from. The amount of waste created and energy used in the manufacture and transport of products can have a real impact on the planet. Buying locally contributes to the economy of your own community and reduces the amount of pollution created by trade. The manufacturer should also have an environmentally friendly operation.

  6. Buy from retailers that focus on helping the environment. These retailers won't use plastic bags (or sometimes any bags at all). They will stock environmentally friendly products and they won't overstock and risk having to reship items or throw them out. The storefronts will usually be lighted with fewer lights.

  7. Choose products in their natural colors. Making and using dyes, as well as the dyeing process can be harmful to the environment.

  8. Give Christmas gifts that teach. Show your loved ones how they can contribute to helping the environment. Many people don't participate in eco-friendly processes because they don't know enough about them and worry that they are difficult. Teaching your friends and family how they can do their part is a Christmas gift on its own!

Choosing an eco-friendly Christmas gift is not difficult or expensive. It's certainly worth the time to be environmentally friendly!

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